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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


Friends of Fresh Pond
To the Editor:
Recent news reports on Fresh Pond partly misrepresent my positions.

This week’s lab result of high coliform bacteria in one sample is certainly a concern, and I fully support the town’s decision to post warnings. This result forces us to redouble our efforts around both septic systems and wildlife management at Fresh Pond.

At the same time, controlling algae blooms is also a top priority, as these introduce serious and unknown hazards for which we are not yet testing into a portion of our aquifer.

Along with my neighbors and other concerned Islanders, “Friends of Fresh Pond” will be fighting for a total watershed management effort that does not ignore any aspect of this complex problem.
Member, Water Advisory Committee

More testing, please
To the Editor:
As of this writing, Fresh Pond had only a trace amount of blue green algae scum on the shoreline of the town landing. The town recently tested the water and found very high levels of fecal coliform bacteria (“Cronin: Fresh Pond lab results a ‘problem,” July 27). It should have also tested for cyanobacteria, which the pond tested positive for in the past.

Cyanobacteria results from blue green algae blooms and can remain after the bloom dissipates, causing illnesses in humans and killing small animals. Dog walkers on the landing should be aware.

The town acted quickly to warn swimmers of the health hazard. I hope it will continue testing the water quality. There should be a permanently posted sign warning the public that Fresh Pond is legally a “class C noncontact impaired water body” that is not normally monitored for swimming water quality.

The spike in bacteria levels and harmful algae blooms seem to be triggered by heat waves and rain storms. The town landing is at the southeast corner of the pond. When rain washes the fecal matter from trees, it combines with runoff of fecal matter from the wildlife in the surrounding woods and the resident flocks of waterfowl. It all concentrates at the landing because of the prevailing winds from the north and west.

Decades ago, there was a massive fish kill in the pond. Fresh Pond Road was little more than a dirt trail then. It was widened because the prevailing wind blew the dead floating fish towards the landing and trucks were needed to haul it away.

The town might consider constructing a second landing for swimmers at the vacant open space lot in the northwest corner of the pond where the water might be consistently cleaner.

The water quality of Fresh Pond can turn from tolerable for some to unhealthy for everyone overnight.

Sometimes the risk is obvious. But most of the time the water quality is unknown because it requires the periodic testing that we don’t do. Despite this, Fresh Pond remains a wonderful place to boat and for catch-and release fishing.

The Reporter referred to me by name and other residents as “other residents” for sounding the alarm about the sudden harmful algae bloom on the pond. Those other residents should also be identified by name. We are all concerned about Fresh Pond and we should be given equal credit.
Shelter Island

Pond remediation needed
To the Editor:
I live on Fresh Pond and have been swimming in it since 1956, missing only those summers when I was overseas in the military. There have been many rumors and incidents over the years, some amusing and some very concerning.

We have had “huge snapping turtles” that “enjoyed” snacking on swimmers’ toes and our own unidentified “Loch Ness”-type monster. In the 1960s, a potato sprayer that came to draw water opened the wrong valve and instead released insecticide, killing everything in the pond. The state cleaned up that mess and restocked the pond the next year.

The odyssey continues. This spring, I too tried to report it when the pond turned green but made no headway in calls to the county and state.

Recently, the town took it upon itself to get the water tested. We will now begin the usual round of uninformed hysterical pontification. Many will adopt the new Suffolk County mantra, “It’s the septic systems” the cause for all water ills. Let’s get the government to subsidize replacements, since they are best at solving problems with our money.

Septic systems are concerning. I upgraded mine two years ago. Not because it wasn’t functioning but because it was a 50-year-old unknown. I think it’s incumbent on all in the community to be environmentally responsible on their own properties. However, if there are subsidies to be paid, please mail my check to my POB.

It used to be rare to see Canada Geese on the pond. Now, on many nights there are hundreds of loud geese that leave rafts of droppings behind. Perhaps this contributes to nitrogen issues and algae bloom.

The pond also attracts fishermen from far and wide with boats with electric motors. In many states, it’s necessary to clean boats and wading gear before between waterways to limit the introduction of anything harmful. We have no such control. Is this a factor in the pond’s changing conditions?

I’d like to see the town contact the proper county, state or federal agency to study what is causing our current issues and ask for a remediation plan. This agency should have properly credentialed employees who can confer a scientific opinion as to what is happening.

Such a study is important because the water quality of the pond is indicative of the condition of our groundwater, and therefore our drinking water.
Shelter Island

Peace and quiet?
To the Editor:
What a fantastic cartoon appeared in last week’s Reporter (“Paw Print,” July 27).

Sadly, it is a truthful description of what is going on every day on the eastern end of Long Island during our summer season. The reason we came to Shelter Island — peace and quiet — has now disappeared.

Need an example? Simply take a ride past Sunset Beach Hotel. Huge crowds block the roadway and the beach is no longer available to residents and taxpayers. It has been taken over by vendors and people who rent everything from paddleboards to Lord knows what, including massages. People block the roadway, openly drinking, jaywalking in a drunken stupor in front of cars. It appears drunks and rowdy people have totally taken control of this beach.

Sadly, our elected officials have not done much to correct this situation. Maybe Town Hall needs a changing of the guard come election time!
Shelter Island

Preschool open house
To the Editor:
Last year was a tremendous year for the Shelter Island Preschool.

In addition to welcoming new teachers and new students, we continued to welcome the fantastic support from the community, without which the preschool would not be able to exist. Summer is flying by and with that comes the anticipation of the approaching academic year.

The Shelter Island Preschool is eager to continue offering an environment for Shelter Island’s youngest students to learn, play and grow in a unique classroom setting.

With that in mind, we would like to invite any and all interested parents and students to come see our classroom, meet our teachers and get to know our board members at our open house on Wednesday, August 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Presbyterian Church.

Information on our program, registration and contact information can also be found at shelterislandpreschool.com.

Questions are also welcome via email at [email protected]

We hope to see you there!
Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center Board

To the Editor:
Google Maps shows the location of my house on 23 Bay Shore Drive but defines the address as “23 Bay Shore Dr., Sag Harbor, NY 11963.”

For a reason I cannot explain, some shippers like to verify the address given to them on Google Maps and end up shipping to Sag Harbor instead of Shelter Island. That’s how my fishing rod ended up by the garage door of 23 Bayshore Avenue, Sag Harbor.

After many hours on the phone with FedEx, and being forced to open an account with a $7 deposit, I was able to change the delivery to Shelter Island. Two days later FedEx showed up at my door with a package containing two coffee mugs, which I hadn’t ordered. Subsequent complaints to Fed Ex were answered by one sentence: ”We deliver to the address on the label and are not responsible for the contents of the package.”

The next step for me was to peel off my label and find out the name of the person the coffee mugs were addressed to. While I was trying to find the telephone number of the rightful owner of the mugs, who I hoped had my fishing rod, he called and offered to make the exchange at my house.

Apparently, the garage door where my fishing rod was left was not adjacent to the house and the owner didn’t see it for a couple of days. He became aware of the problem when the coffee mugs shipped by the Unites States Postal Service to him never showed up.

I don’t know whether Google Maps has other addresses wrong on the Island, but I spoke to a neighbor on Bay Shore Drive who had two kayaks addressed to her shipped to Sag Harbor by FedEx.

I have made a dozen attempts to correct my address at Google Maps online with no luck and no one to talk to.

I can use all the help I can get.
Shelter Island

Gentleness and care
To the Editor:
On July 29, my 3-year-old grandson Cass Kessler, couldn’t catch his breath, so we called 911. Our family wants to express our deepest gratitude to the professional and compassionate Shelter Island Emergency Medical Services team that answered the call. Their gentleness and medical care helped keep Cass calm on his trip to Southampton Hospital.

We are thankful to Mark Kanarvogel, the first on the scene who made us confident we were in good hands; Phil Power, Debbie Brewer and Arthur Bloom in the ambulance that Cass took to calling the “Magic Truck;” and Shelter Island Police Officer Andrew Graffagnino who took down all the information. I have known Phil and Debbie for over 40 years and so Grandma also calmed down when she saw such kind and familiar faces.

And they made a powerful impression on Cass, too. He is now back in New York City, but when told that Debby would be babysitting him today, he asked, “Debby who picks me up from school or Debbie from the magic truck?”

We are so lucky to be part of a community with such a responsive emergency system.
Shelter Island

Summer of ’17
To the Editor:
What a wonderful summer of 2017 this is turning out to be, with the Island in full bloom and the foliage is magnificent. No wonder we have so many visitors to admire the glorious flowers of every kind
I recently had the opportunity to meet several short-term rental (STR) folks at the beach and in several restaurants who were incredibly fine folks.

All had a legitimate reason for doing a STR. Why that hastily drawn legislation cannot be shredded is beyond me. It is unnecessary and certainly reeks of being unconstitutional, especially for the homeowner. One of the couples I met, actually did their own STR so they could do a STR elsewhere.

Very clever!

On another front, South Midway Road residents must love the “polka dot” road — just follow the dots and you will come to an “issue” at Dickerson Creek. I wonder if that has anything to do with the goings on at Fresh Pond? Perhaps if it were properly “culverted” there could be some sort of flushing of the “smelly” business at extreme low tide. Perhaps the lack of new asphalt in the area indicates there may be some action taken. We’ve only been waiting 25 years.

Kudos to Charity Robey for the great interview with Republican supervisor candidate Gary Gerth. This is my kind of guy. He realizes what a great loss St. Gabe’s was to Shelter Island. While Supervisor Jim Dougherty claims to have kept taxes down, the costs for infrastructure issues escalate by the minute.

Mr. Gerth seems to have had great governmental experience in this field and the proper and necessary skills to keep our boat afloat.
Shelter Island

Lifesaving Islanders
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Town of Shelter Island, I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped make the second annual summer blood drive at the EMS Building on July 25 a huge success.

Our goal was to collect 50 pints, and 63 pints were collected at Tuesday’s drive, 10 more than last year!

One pint of blood can help to save three to five lives. You have helped between 189 and 315 patients.

Whether you booked an appointment or just stopped by because you saw the signs, your time and donations are greatly appreciated.

Thank you to Jack Thilberg, director of Emergency Medical Services for allowing the drive to take place in the EMS Building once again. It was a great location. Donors and staff were very comfortable.

Thank you to the Shelter Island Reporter, Shelter Island Fire Department, North Ferry Company, South Ferry Company and Sylvester Manor for getting the word out. A special thank you to Giovanna Ketcham for cleaning up the day after.

Please remember that blood donors are continually needed to ensure that blood is available year round.

Hope to see you next summer!
Shelter Island